Rakhine State flood vic­tims need more aid

The Myanmar Times - - Front Page - NYAN LYNN AUNG nyan­lin­aung@mm­times.com

While the wa­ter level is re­ced­ing, thou­sands of dis­placed fam­i­lies in the most hard-to-reach flooded ar­eas are still lack­ing pu­ri­fied wa­ter, rice and other sup­plies, and ponds and wells need to be de­con­tam­i­nated.

DIS­PLACED fam­i­lies in Rakhine State say even though the heavy rains have stopped in ar­eas most im­pacted by flood­ing, life has not re­turned to nor­mal and aid is badly needed.

Trans­porta­tion is­sues have left those who need the most as­sis­tance un­reach­able, said U Hla Thein Aung, a Rakhine State par­lia­men­tar­ian from Min­bya town­ship.

Some peo­ple re­turned to their homes after the rains stopped, he said. How­ever, oth­ers are still sleep­ing in tem­po­rary shel­ter in places like monas­ter­ies. Most need pu­ri­fied wa­ter and rice or other food.

“Some af­fected ar­eas, es­pe­cially re­mote vil­lages, could not be reached,” U Hla Thein Aung said. “There­fore, these ar­eas have not re­ceived any­thing yet. They need aid.”

More than 20,000 peo­ple across five town­ships in Rakhine State were evac­u­ated or lost their homes as heavy rains pounded the state ear­lier this month, ac­cord­ing to the Min­istry of So­cial Wel­fare, Re­lief and Resettlement. More than 5000 homes were flooded and 19 were swept away, the min­istry said.

Rakhine State Agri­cul­ture and Forestry Min­is­ter U Kyaw Lwin said the gov­ern­ment has al­ready pro­vided enough aid to last 26 days across all ar­eas im­pacted by flood­ing. Over 5000 bags of rice are ready for dis­tri­bu­tion if nec­es­sary, he said.

“We are pro­vid­ing to the best of our abil­ity,” he said, “and we or­dered all town­ship ad­min­is­tra­tive of­fi­cers in ar­eas that we could not reach to pro­vide nec­es­sary aid.”

U Kyaw Win, a Mrauk-U town­ship res­i­dent, said some places have not been reached by gov­ern­ment sup­port be­cause they don’t have lists of the peo­ple hit by flood­ing.

“All wells have been flooded and the pu­ri­fied wa­ter is the most im­por­tant thing,” he said. “Rice is es­pe­cially needed.”

The United Na­tions Of­fice of the Co­or­di­na­tion of Hu­man­i­tar­ian Af­fairs’ pub­lic in­for­ma­tion and ad­vo­cacy of­fi­cer Pierre Peron said that the UN and NGOs are now work­ing closely with the au­thor­i­ties to as­sess the im­pact of the floods. They will sup­port the gov­ern­ment in re­spond­ing to hu­man­i­tar­ian needs.

It is likely that wa­ter ponds and wells will have been con­tam­i­nated by the flood­wa­ters, so there will likely be a need for wa­ter and san­i­ta­tion, he said. Peo­ple may have lost food and seed stocks, so in ad­di­tion to short-term food it will also be im­por­tant to en­sure that they can sow their rice pad­dies in time for this sea­son, he said.

“Un­for­tu­nately, many com­mu­ni­ties across Myan­mar are reg­u­larly af­fected by floods dur­ing mon­soon sea­son and these lat­est floods are a re­minder of the need for dis­as­ter­risk re­duc­tion pro­grams to strengthen the re­silience of peo­ple and com­mu­ni­ties in nat­u­ral dis­as­ters,” he said.

U Ba Thaung, a res­i­dent of Kyauk­taw town­ship, said some dis­placed peo­ple are al­ready back home clean­ing out the mud that was left after the flood­ing.

“Some peo­ple from re­mote ar­eas went back to their homes after it stopped rain­ing,” he said. “There­fore most are not get­ting gov­ern­ment pro­vi­sions be­cause the gov­ern­ment could not reach the re­mote ar­eas. I think they re­ally need aid.”

Photo: Sup­plied

North­ern Rakhine State has been in­un­dated since the be­gin­ning of July.

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